Stomach aches are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong! It may be something as simple as indigestion or overeating, or it could be something more complicated, like an autoimmune disorder or IBS. Whatever the case, it’s important that you listen! If your stomach hurts, here are a few things that could be the cause:
GERD, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a worsening of your basic acid reflux/heartburn problem. Essentially, the acid in your stomach is pushing back up your esophagus, and the burning sensation in your upper stomach (just below your sternum) is the acid eating away at sensitive esophageal tissue. Getting the GERD under control may require some serious dietary changes: not just eating less, but cutting back on acidic foods as well!
Medication Side Effects
Sadly, the medication used to treat one problem may often cause another to crop up. Medications can be caustic and burn your stomach lining, or they may slow your stomach’s emptying rate. A full stomach can cause pain and other digestive issues. NSAIDs, oral bisphosphates, narcotics, and blood pressure medications can also cause stomach-related side effects.
There are some people who are unable to digest the lactose (sugar) in milk. This food intolerance can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe, depending on just how sensitive to lactose you are. Diarrhea, burping, gas, bloating, and indigestion are all common side effects. If your stomach hurts after a glass of milk or a slice of cheese, you may be lactose intolerant.
Yes, it’s common for your stomach to hurt after you eat a too-big meal. Your stomach can only expand so much, meaning it only has room for so much food. Fill it too much, and the food will press against the walls of your stomach—including the esophageal sphincter. Overeating is one of the primary causes of stomach pain and acid reflux.
Gluten intolerance, like lactose intolerance, stems from your body’s inability to break down and digest a certain nutrient. People with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder) have a very strong reaction to gluten, but even those with non-celiac gluten intolerance (a food intolerance) are likely to notice stomach pains and cramps when eating gluten. The simple solution is to cut gluten from your life!
It may be hard to believe, but stomach parasites are actually a lot more common than you’d think! The most common parasites in the U.S. are Cryptosporidium and Giardia, both of which can come from drinking or swimming in contaminated water. Cramps, nausea, and stomach upset can last for anywhere from 2 days to 3 weeks, depending on the type of parasites.
Peptic ulcer disease can cause ulcers to form on not only your stomach, but also in the duodenum, a part of your small intestines. The pain will usually be located to your mid-upper abdominal area, and will often kick in right after a meal. NSAID medications are one of the main causes of ulcers, as are the H. pylori bacteria.
They say that stress kills, and the pain it can cause in your stomach is no joke! Stress and depression have both been linked to digestive problems, and both are primary contributing factors to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). In fact, stomach problems could contribute to higher depression and stress rates, as well as being triggered by them. If you’re under a lot of pressure or feeling gloomy, you can expect some unwelcome changes in your digestive tract!